Lil’ Miso – Week 21 to Week 28

Week 21-22
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Okay I admit I’m all over the place all the time. I thought I have documented every week and dush, the notes suddenly vanished.
* I sewed something from scratch for the first time! Busied myself making costumes for E’s and X’s Book Week in school. E was Toothless from How to Train A Dragon and Xan was the Fox from Gruffalo.
* Meantime, Miso got a Cocoonababy! I found a great preloved deal in a very good, almost new condition – at more than half the price.

Week 23-24
* These two weeks came and went so quickly as I busied myself with Ewan’s birthday party. We took it easier this year by booking a party at Bounce where everything else is taken care of. I only had to look into party favours and birthday cake. He had a blast with his closest buddies from school and our neighbourhood.
* Food craving – Sri Lankan food

Week 25

* In a quest to tackle Ewan’s eczema, I did further reading into the GAPS topic and have been gradually trying to introduce a Paleo diet to him and the entire family. How did we fare? Let’s just say it didn’t go down to well for a pregnant lady. Focusing on more meat and vegetables in each meal, anything gluten or carbs is eliminated. I have eaten rice all my life so this new diet is a culture shock for my body. We usually have our dinner at around 5.30pm but by 7pm, I would be scrambling for food. And another snacks at 9pm. We endured it for a week before I got too grumpy and decided to reintroduce carbs into our dinner again LOL
* I have diligently been swimming once a week (while the kids are having their swimming lesson) and going to the Prenatal Fitness class every Monday too. Not sure about my weight gain (because my weighing scale is not working anymore) and seriously don’t care as long as both baby and I are eating healthily, exercising regularly and thriving.
* The Hypnobirthing book by Marie Mongan resumed its position at my bedside. Surprise out of surprises, I could still remember most of the words in the Birth Affirmation even after 3 years plus.
* Managed to get some really amazing deals for newborn clothes at Mothercare. For a pack of 5 onesies or 3 pyjamas, there’s 50% off and on top of that, buy  1 pack free 1 pack. Because I have given away all my baby clothes, I stocked up quite a lot there.

Week 26
* The week when we announced our pregnancy in FB, on April Fool’s Day. Since mid last year, I have opted for more privacy and less activity in FB – simply because I feel this platform is two-faced and often makes relationships very complicated. I have earlier shared about Miso in Instagram 3 months ago, because I feel it’s a more controlled and personalised way of interaction. I like it this way better.
* Huge, huge craving for avocado. I like it with banana, honey, chia seeds and almond milk – blended into a smoothie. This concoction helped me to sleep very well at night too. Maybe that’s why this was the week when my bump seemed to have grown significantly. The weight of the bump is taking a toll on my body, especially the knees. I examined myself in the mirror one day and realised that my bump is as now as big as the size it was when Xan was almost due. As if to comfort me, the Husband disagreed and said it’s smaller. I have no idea how much more my body can stretch.
* Feeling like the symptoms from the same nasty flu I had in December revisiting. I quickly popped six garlic-parsley capsules over three times a day, two times of probiotics and took more healthy fatty foods, as per recommended in the GAPS book. Also sipped on Millenium cactus juice and upped my Vitamin C-ascorbic acid to the level my body is able to tolerate. It did work – the flu went away in 2 days. Yes!
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Some wardrobe essentials like hat, pants, mittens and pyjamas were still lacking so I headed to a lady’s house to get some preloved baby clothes. And we’re done. Next to do is to wash the clothes 2 weeks before EDD.

Week 27
* The kicks are getting very, very regularly. Lil’ Miso moves a lot in the belly. I could feel him/her 75% of the time, either knocking, turning around or kicking. Boy they were all very strong ones. When I’m cooking, doing the dishes, lounging around and lying down. Sometimes during my fitness class too! We’ve got one very active baby in there. He/she is only quiet after my workout, probably soothed from the huge supply of oxygen.
* These days, I try to sleep with my hands off my belly because if I do, Miso will take it as a cue to play our little game of Tap-Pat-Scratch-Poke, even in the middle of the night! One night, he made me laugh at 4am when I accidentally placed my hand on the belly while sleeping and could feel that he ‘woke up’ immediately with a hard kick to swim to the position where my hand was and give me a knock on that spot. Playful one! I had to tell him that it’s sleeping time.
* Lil’ Miso first hiccups were felt!
* The Husband decided to buy me a doula! We both agreed that a good birth sets a good foundation for the months ahead – for both mum and baby. With no family support here, we felt that a doula’s presence during my labour could come very handy especially if it happens at night and we need the Husband to watch the kids. I asked around and shortlisted two doulas based on recommendations.

Week 28
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* It was a busy week in the kitchen, whipping up gluten-free snacks for E.
* I had the opportunity to attend a talk by International Waterbirth Specialist, Barbara Harper and learned so much about birthing. So much so I wanted to become a midwife!
* The kids had International Day in school and along with other Malaysian mums, we ran a stall featuring our local food and souvenirs. It was great fun showcasing our home country.

iHerb purchase #7

Since my last post regarding my iHerb purchase #3, I have bought and shipped over four more parcels of goodies from them. My recent purchase was the largest, with 95 items weighing over 32kg in total that they delivered the products in two separate parcels. Don’t worry, I haven’t become an iHerb hoarder (although I’m almost there!). This purchase was a combined order with two other friends here to save on shipping cost via DHL Express – International.

My items comprised around 25% of the order, and I paid US$16.40 for my share of postage. That’s around extra RM2 per product. Not too bad considering I usually pay a lot more for the same amount of stuff.

Two important things I learned from this group purchase or rather, buying from iHerb:

(a) If you’re buying a lot at one go, I’d recommend splitting them into 2-3 orders. Due to the number of items and weight of each box, not all our products arrived in pristine condition. One of the boxes was damp and damaged as a bottle of surface cleaner leaked and spilled all over. The bottle was empty by the time it reached me. Luckily for us, most of the items came in proper packaging except for my chocolate bar which I had to throw away because the solution seeped into it. Upon highlighting this to iHerb, they promptly apologized and refunded the amount for damaged items to me.

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(b) For buyers residing in Dubai, please note that a 5% customs charge is applicable for purchases above US$270 no matter which site you are buying from. I only got to know about this when the DHL guy appeared at my doorstep with an invoice of AED149. Darn…

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REVIEWS
Some of the items were repeated purchase. Here’s a quick review on the products we have used before and are very satisfied with:

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1. Everyday Shea, Shea Butter Shampoo & Body Wash, Calming Lemon-Lavender – Both my kids use this as hair shampoo and body wash. I like that it’s chemical-free, mildly scented and contains really gentle ingredients such as shea butter, lavender essential oil and virgin coconut oil. It also has a hint of salty smell due to sea salt being one of its ingredients but it doesn’t really bother me. In fact, sea salt helps with skin health.

2. Dr. Woods, Shea Vision, Pure Black Soap – If you like the smell of baby powder, you’ll like this soap! Hubby and I use this to wash our face and body. When we go on a holiday, I’ll fill this up in a small container for the whole family to use as its all-natural ingredients made it gentle enough for children too. It’s very multi-purpose and can also be used for laundry and cleaning of dishes, floor, toilet etc. Plus it gives a good value for money because one big bottle (946ml) can last us for more than six months. Highly affordable.

3. Nurture Inc. (Happy Baby), happypuffs, Banana Puffs – Xan loves this. E used to, too! She has tried the strawberry flavour too.

4. Nurture Inc. (Happy Baby), Baked Organic Cheese & Grain Snack – Xan enjoys eating this. I personally like it too. Not much taste but still yummy.

5. Hyland’s, Complete Allergy 4 Kids – I’ve stopped E on anti-histamine medicines and give him this homeopathy remedy whenever he shows signs of allergy. It works to a certain extent if taken consistently until the symptoms subside. However, I recently read that the efficacy of homeopathy remedies will be depotentised if they are placed next to strong-smelling foods or go through metal detectors. Since this is shipped from US, they may or may not go through the machine. I’m giving it the benefit of doubt for now.

6. Nature’s Way, Alive! Whole Food Energizer Multi-Vitamin – Hubby is on his third bottle already. I noticed a surge in energy if he takes this on a daily basis. He no longer appears tired or complains of fatigue. He falls sick less frequent too.

NEW STUFF
I’m always keen on trying new stuff! Below are the other items that I have bought but never tried before:

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7. Amazing Grass, The Amazing Trio, Barley Grass, Wheat Grass & Alfalfa – Thinking to add this in my daily beverages. It was on a very cheap trial price.

8. Chocolove, Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate – Read rave reviews about it. Being a big fan of chocolates, I have to have it!

9. Nurture Inc. (Happy Baby), Organic Baby Food, Gobble Gobble – My emergency food for Xan just in case we can’t find anything for her to eat in London. Very unlikely but better to be prepared. I don’t think she will enjoy this though.

10. Yummy Earth, Gummy Bears, 4 Flavors – I love to spoil my kids once in a while. Since real, sugar-packed candies are a big no-no to me (as if there’s not enough sugar in our daily food!), this is a good alternative.

11. Bragg, Liquid Aminos, Alternative to Tamari & Soy Sauce – I use a lot of soy sauce in my cooking. Giving this a try because it is supposedly healthier.

12. Bob’s Red Mill, Toasted Carob Powder – A friend told me this is a caffeine-free alternative for cocoa powder. Going to bake chocolate cake with this one day and let you know if it tastes the same!

13. ChildLife First Defense and ChildLife Echinacea – These are for E. I decided to switch to this from his regular Nature’s Plus Animals Parade multivitamins which he has been taking and has had many bottles of it. While Nature’s Plus did good for him and lessened the severity of common cold/flu, he’s beginning to dread eating them every morning. Time for a change!

14. Nurture Inc. (Happy Baby), Happymunchies, Baked Organic Cheese & Grain Snack, Broccoli Kale & Cheddar Cheese – Another flavour for Xan to try.

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15. Seventh Generation, Multi-Surface Cleaner, Lemongrass Citrus Scent – My part-time cleaner uses the surface disinfectant I bought here so quickly that I have to look for a cheaper option. I’m not comfortable using those loaded with chemicals so here’s hoping this will work as well too.

16. Badger Company, Sleep Balm, Lavender & Bergamot – Who needs a good night of sleep? Me! I can’t stop the baby from nursing, but I can help myself to snooze better 😀

17. Munchkin, Auto Seat Protector – This is pretty affordable! We bought one in a baby shop but it was the last in stock and they have not replenished it for months.

18. Giovanni, Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo – I previously tried Giovanni’s Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo but didn’t like it as it made my scalp itchy. I didn’t make my hair smooth as silk too. This one has got good reviews, so I’m going to give it a go.

19. Clean Well, All-Natural Hand Sanitizer Spray – It’s alcohol-free, small and perfect for holiday or outings. Handy when there’s no water around. Will be bringing this to London with us.

20. Xlear Inc, Kid’s Spry, Tooth Gel with Xylitol – I’m trying to stay fluoride-free, and since E hasn’t really gotten the hang of spitting yet, it’s better to get something that’s safe to swallow. Just in case.

21. Blum Naturals, Daily Cleansing & Makeup Remover Towelettes – As I don’t put on make-up often, it makes more sense to buy make-up remover wipes than the cleansing solution and cotton pads. I’m currently using Simple but don’t like how dry it makes my skin feel after that. Not easy to remove as well. This is cheaper than Simple.

22. Ecover, Natural Stain Remover – The cleaning solution for lazy people like me.

iHerb purchase #3

When I discovered that the normal international postal system may not work in Dubai, I panicked. If someone were to send me something via snail mail, “it’s as good as lost” – so my friend said. Double panic there. Whatttt…there are no postcodes in Dubai? I totally freaked out. So I took a deep breath and dropped iHerb an email. “Dear Sir, Have you successfully delivered your products to customers in Dubai?” – I wrote. To this day, I did not receive their reply.

But I need my iHerb. I have come all the way from Malaysia with as few toiletries as possible. My supplements can last me for another month – and that’s pushing it already. Gossssssh! So I dig further. Ohhhhh…only private couriers work here? Alrightey then, I shall use DHL.

Armed with a long list, I clicked away. Since the shipping is going to be more expensive than usual, I might as well order more. Plus Xan will be starting solids in just a month, so it’s just the right timing. The biggest purchase for me so far. 31 items, totalling around US$150. Shipping is another US$31, which means $US1 per item – which isn’t too bad.

Then, ding dong! The DHL delivery guy came.

Ordered on: Monday, 8 April 2013
Arrived on: Thursday, 11 April 2013

E was as excited as me when the parcel came.
E was as excited as me when the parcel came.

As always, the products came securely packed and in good condition. These should last me for a couple of months.

Biggest loot so far!
Biggest loot so far!

Am I happy now? Yes of course! Am I broke? Yes also.

If you’d like to give iHerb a try, do remember to use my discount code IQO564 (O in alphabet, not numeric) to receive US$5 off for purchase below US$40 and US$10 for purchase above that. Also, if you keep the total weight to below 4lbs and total purchase between US$40 to US$80, the delivery charges is only a flat rate of US$4.

Happy shopping!

Read my previous iHerb purchases here and here.

BIP: w33 – w37

BIP = Baby In Progress

Week 33
► Time seemed to pass even faster when I’m not working! This week was spent spring cleaning and catching up with friends.
► Went through baby checklist. Glad to know that mm’s stuff are ready.

Week 34
► Had my maternity photoshoot with AzmirKhalid Photography at home. We had fun!
► Appointment with Dr Choong after not seeing him for almost 2 months. Well, if you feel alright and baby is moving as usual inside, there’s no reason to see a doctor isn’t it? 😉
► Met up with Elicia. She kindly brought all her three soft-structured carriers to show me. Bought a preloved Beco Butterfly 2 carrier and some girl one-size cloth diapers from her.
► Answered a mail drop on traditional Malay pre-natal massage by Mom’s Postnatal Care (Pn. Shila 013-672 8595) and got the lady to come to my house. RM80 for a 1.5-hour session. It was gooooooooood and very much welcomed! Felt so much more rejuvenated after that! Considering to sign them up for post-natal urut. Only thing was, the massage was done by a Filipino lady, so not very genuine per se.

Week 35
► To keep the positive vibes up, I organised a gathering with my Hypnobirthing coursemates along with the educator, Wai Han. All of them – except me – have given birth (2 homebirths, 1 gentle hospital waterbirth and 1 emergency C-sec). No photos as everyone was too busy talking about their birth stories. Daddies got busy talking about D-day too 🙂
► My youngest sister visited me for a few days with her 2-month old.
► Upped the intake of red raspberry leaf tea and Third Trimester tea. Started on a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil once a day too.

Week 36
► Started to feel overwhelmed with the heavy bump, slight lethargy and swollen-by-night right foot. Asked E, “Ewan, is mommy fat?” My tactful Casanova said: “No, just bigger. Daddy has fat tummy” Super sweeeeeeet! 🙂
► Catching-up-with-friends sessions continued. It will be a while more before my life can be restored to a ‘normal’ mode once mm arrives, so let’s make good use of it.
► Sudden craving for durians but resisting it.
► One more session of facial treatment before I pop!
► Appointment with Dr Siva went well. Glad to announce that he’s yet another gem of an obgyn – pro-natural/gentle birth, very friendly and exudes a positive energy. He accepted my birth plan and said “This is standard of what I do”. mm weighs around 2.4kg to date, still lying in LOA position though not engaged with cord, placenta and amniotic fluid all looking good.
► Still procrastinating over doing a perineal massage on a daily basis. Maybe I’ll just skip this!

Week 37
► Full term! Though there were still people asking me “You’re due next year, right?”
► Labour rehearsal begun at 37+5 weeks. Consistent Braxton Hicks every 20-30 minutes, each lasting around 10-20 seconds for two consecutive days. Occasional period-like cramps. More frequent bowel movements. Nesting instinct kicked in.
► Tried out De Jejari traditional pre-natal massage (Sue 012-255 4444). RM75 for 1 hour. The pressure applied was less strong but hit the right note. I snoozed like a baby for the next two days! Signing them up for my post-natal urut at RM750 for 10 sessions.
► Had a bump date with another mommy-to-be, Jun, after more than a year of correspondence 🙂
► Took the ‘risk’ and made a trip back to Melaka to fulfill my last few KPIs before mm comes.

KPIs to achieve before I pop

Full term! I’m 37 weeks along now and mm is expected to come anytime from now. 😀

The past few weeks since I stopped working have been busy, packed yet blissful. I have managed to get lots of things done and am pleased to share that a majority of the KPIs (key performance indicators) set to be completed before mm comes have been settled!

[√] Declutter E’s toys

[√] Sort out E’s toiletries

[√] Spring clean and give away old clothes – we gave ours away to Eletrolux Washington charity project

[√] Spring clean and sell off / give away books, toys, baby stuff and whatever stuff not needed anymore – glad to say that all our giveaways have gone to good homes

[√] Wash mm’s clothes and napkins – the lazy me sent all to the laundry shop 🙂

[√] Go through baby checklist and prepare whatever that is required – mm is inheriting pretty much everything from E, so all we had to buy were some milk bottles, carseat, newborn rompers and some nice-to-haves. I managed to buy some great stuff at discounted prices at the Mothercare sale going on now.

[√] Pack hospital bag – Having had an experience before, my hospital bag is a LOT lighter and simpler this time around.

[√] Catch up with friends – Met up with so many friends over the past few weeks. In fact, I think I’m busier compared to when I was working 🙂

[√] Work on Photobook for 2012 happenings and get it printed – Got it done within three late nights. Waiting patiently for my Photobook to arrive now.

[ ] Return my friend’s prenatal yoga DVD – arranged

[ ] Attend a close friend’s wedding dinner

[ ] Collect my breastpump and confinement food ingredients

[ ] Buy my parents a nice lunch

The last three tasks require me to travel back to my hometown, and I’m a tad worried about popping there. I have been having rather frequent Braxton Hicks lately followed by occasional period-like cramps. The old wives’ tales believe that swollen feet are a good indicator that baby is coming soon but so far, mine have yet to swell. I have also been telling mm to hang in there for a while more and come anytime after this week ends.

What do you think…should I or should I not go back to hometown for a couple of days?